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SHAH ALAM: Street demonstrations do not help strengthen democracy, said Umno Supreme Council member, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said despite the space provided under the Federal Constitution for people to voice out their opinions, street demonstrations should be rejected as they posed a lot of risks to various quarters.
According to him, gatherings and democracy took various forms, with street demonstrations being one of them.
"(But) in a democracy, the community has rights too to enjoy security, public order and safety of property," he said in a debate with PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, here, tonight.
The debate entitled, 'Street Demonstrations: Strengthening or Destroying Democracy?" was organised by Sinar Harian newspaper, here, tonight.
Saifuddin, who is also Deputy Higher Education Minister, said what the people needed was a more mature and progressive democracy which could help create a more developed and peaceful nation.
He said rejecting street demonstrations was not because of the government's inability to deal with such a situation.
"The issue is, a responsible governmment does not want to sacrifice public safety," he said.
Saifuddin concluded that elements that had contributed to peace and stability in the country all this while should be preserved, including the need to respect certain conditions when organising a public gathering.
Salahuddin in his arguments, urged that a royal commission of inquiry be set up to investigate the real causes of the trouble that broke out during the Bersih 3.0 gathering in the federal capital on April 28. - Bernama